The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Secret

You wanna know the secret to people thinking you are the most amazing thing ever?

Here goes.

SHHHHHH. Come closer. Closer. Swear you won't tell?


First, you have to think long term; this is a five-year plan. Go and get knocked up or knock someone else up. You need a kid for this plan.

During the next five years while the plan incubates, you need to read and listen to anything and everything that has ever been written or sung. I'm not kidding. Fucking everything. It could help if you have a graduate degree in literature or music, but that's not necessarily vital to the plan.

Now, after the five years are up, you need totally switch whatever career you've been doing and go and do research on a bug that has a lot of media attention. Like MRSA, HIV, the flu, or hepatitis C. You get to pick. It doesn't have to be good research; just make damn sure that the "scienc-y" thing you choose has a lot of media coverage. People need to know what you are talking about. Weird, obscure coral fungi have no place in this plan.

Okay, are you ready? Here comes the work part.

Start a blog or sell a short story or do something freaking literary. Simultaneously, you need to be doing non-stop scientific research for that ever-so-sexy bug. Also, develop a taste for wine (beer works too but to a lesser degree). Learn all about it. Talk authoritatively and knowledgeably (not mutually exclusive) about it at random dinner parties. Drop the science stuff every once in a while to establish that you are serious. Not just some drunk hedonist. Drop the part about how you have a kid. How you play with Tiny every Thursday at the park. Every Thursday. Without fail. You are a Conscientious Parent.

We are ever so close . . . .

Now, go buy a canvas. Not some pansy, Nancy-boy 12x14 canvas. I'm talking the full Monty, the 36x48 canvas (and these are in inches not wussy centimeters). Buy some oil paints. Ignore the fact that you have no idea how to paint with oils. That they intimidate you beyond belief. Just. Freaking. Buy. Them.

Put some music on. Put something obscure and awesomely new on. If you can't summon that up, just put your computer on random. Surely some of the music you've stolen with abandon from others will be obscure and awesomely new. Now, open a bottle of wine (or beer) that you know is admirable. Invite others to share in your bottle opening but play it off as if they've unexpectedly arrived just when you were about to drink amazing wine and PAINT.

Kiss your child lovingly but firmly and place him or her in front of the TV for the rest of the evening.

Now, while chatting with the carefully planned guests begin to paint with those intimidating oils you bought on that freaking huge canvas you proudly own. Claim the piece is a tribute to some literary genius you "love." Do "crazy," "artsy" things like wipe the canvas down with paper towels. Talk about hue and value and composition so that those who are drinking your amazing wine think that you are just as amazing.

Don't forget to mention that you do science as well as art. Being well-rounded is part of the plan.

As the sun sinks amber/gold into the marine layer, place your sleepy and "independent" child into his or her bed, barely missing a beat in the ever-so-stimulating conversation that has been inspired by your art.

You. Are. Amazing.

No comments:

Post a Comment